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Dr Justine Pizzo 

Lecturer in British Literature 1837 - 1939

Dr Justine Pizzo's photo

Dr Justine Pizzo is a Lecturer in British Literature from 1837 to 1939 at the University of Southampton.


I joined English at Southampton in 2015 after teaching at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) where I earned my doctoral and master’s degrees. I hold a bachelor’s degree in English from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York where I also carried out a correlate sequence in Art History.

Prior to teaching and studying at UCLA, I was a grant writer for Dia Art Foundation, an interdisciplinary arts institution in New York City. A sustained interest in interdisciplinarity continues to drive my research and teaching: my current scholarship focuses on the intersections between nineteenth-century literature, climate science, and theories of female embodiment.


Research interests


My present book project reassesses formal and feminist histories of Victorian fiction by arguing that atmosphere—elusive and deceptively immaterial as it may be—forms the basis of characterization in some of the most studied works of the period, including those by Charles Dickens, Charlotte Brontë, and Thomas Hardy. Although many recent theories of characterization maintain that characters are consistently embodied subjects, my work demonstrates how climate does not merely establish mood or setting in Victorian novels; it also directs our attention to the dissoluble subjectivity of female protagonists in realist fiction. Through an analysis of mid-to-late nineteenth-century theories about ether, lunarism, and the dew-point, I demonstrate how atmospheric characterization emerges from contemporary debates in physics, medicine, and especially meteorology.

My essay on atmospheric character in Bleak House appeared in Victorian Literature and Culture in 2014 and the article “Atmospheric Exceptionalism in Jane Eyre: Charlotte Brontë’s Weather Wisdom,” is forthcoming in the January 2016 issue of PMLA.


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I teach special topics and literary movements from the nineteenth through the early twentieth centuries. Currently, I contribute to the undergraduate modules Victorian Bestsellers, The Nineteenth-Century Novel, Narrative and Culture, and Critical Theory.

Dr Justine Pizzo
Faculty of Arts and Humanities University of Southampton Avenue Campus Highfield Southampton SO17 1BF United Kingdom

Room Number: 65/2003

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